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5 fun activities for Assisted Living residents

January 18, 2018

Assisted Living residents’ days tend to be routine and, sometimes, downright boring. Talking with a client’s daughter this morning, we brainstormed a few great ideas for family members and caregivers to inject some fun and novelty in your loved one’s week.

  • Sending and receiving mail (snail mail using paper, pen and a postage stamp) is the way our aging loved ones communicated with their family and friends. This creative daughter sometimes sends a stamped, self-addressed card along with a card and note to her mom at her assisted living community. So all her mom has to do is write a note, enclose it in the stamped envelope, seal it and give it the front desk receptionist to be mailed. Love this idea! And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, what a perfect time to give this idea a try.

 

  • A fun activity for male and female residents is a walk down memory lane by looking at post cards from her/his hometown. I found lots of Raleigh, NC landmark post cards on Ebay here. Bonus points if you can find a city map from your loved one’s early adult years.

 

  • Bring and watch an old movie with your loved one at their assisted living. Bonus points for bringing popcorn and candy! The important part of this activity is the gift of your time. Who wants to watch a movie alone? I watched The Sound of Music with a dear client last week. We both enjoyed it! You can ask the assisted living activities director or coordinator if you can borrow the movie room during off-peak hours.

 

The Sound of Music movie on DVDThe Sound of Music movie on DVD

  • Take your aging mom, grand-mom, aunt, etc., for a hair appointment outside the assisted living facility.  All the older ladies in my family went to the “beauty parlor” faithfullelderly lady having her hair doney for a wash, set, and style. If you can’t take time off from work, usually you can hire an off-duty caregiver or a senior concierge service for 1-2 hours to accompany your loved one for this much-loved outing. Before and after photos are fun to share with your her family and friends.

 

 

  • Polish some silverware, silver jewelry, and serving ware. Come on, you know you have some tarnished treasures tucked away somewhere that otherwise will never be cleaned! Polishing silver was an important household activity to our elders. Their silver pieces were valuable to them and they took good care of them back in the day. A silver polishing cloth and cream are the only tools required. This is a meaningful activity with a satisfying outcome. If you have time to be a polish partner, it is possible that you will hear a great story about this or that family heirloom.

Age in place by the numbers

January 01, 2018

According to the United States of Aging Survey conducted by the National Council on Aging and United Healthcare, older Americans are striving to age in place, despite physical and economic difficulties in some cases.

Nine in 10 seniors intend to continue living in their current homes over the next five to 10 years.

Leading reasons for wanting to stay in their current homes include:

  • liking where they currently live (85 percent),
  • having family and friends nearby (66 percent)
  • not wanting to deal with the hassle of moving (50 percent).

Finances also play a role in this decision:

  • 26 percent of seniors planning to age in place say they cannot afford the cost of moving their belongings,
  • more than one in five (23 percent) believe their home would not sell in the current market.

The vast majority of all age groups report high levels of confidence that they will be able to stay in their homes without having to make any significant home modifications:

  • 85 percent of respondents aged 60 to 64,
  • 82 percent of respondents aged 65 to 69,
  • 86 percent of respondents aged 70 or older.

Nearly one in five baby boomers aged 60 to 64 (18 percent) believe the housing options available to them are unaffordable.

Five tips for a senior-friendly age in place home

January 01, 2018

Where do you start to create an age in place home? The idea of remodeling your home to be senior-friendly and ready for aging in place can be overwhelming. What are the costs? Where to start? Are there DIY updates you can do without a contractor?

  • Front door: add railings to stairs leading to outside doors
  • Bathroom:
    • Inexpensive fix: install hand-held shower head and grab bars
    • More expensive fix: remodel your shower so that it is roll-in with a trench drain
  • Bedroom: place commonly used items on lower shelves within easy reach
  • Stairs and hallways: add low glare overhead lighting and track lighting along hallway floors
  • Kitchen: add pull-out shelving in lower cabinets and pull-down shelving in upper cabinets

If you are unsure about which updates to prioritize, always think safety first. 

 

age in place shower

 

Granny pods

December 08, 2017

Granny pods, med cottages, tiny homes: all are descriptors for a new senior long-term residential solution. Granny pods are – simply stated – “very cool”! Reverend Ken Dupin invented these 12 feet by 24 feet pods that sit conveniently in any backyard and plug right up one’s existing plumbing and electrical. They allow both caregiver and senior to have their own space while remaining connected.

Dr. Bill Thomas, internationally acclaimed aging expert, recently completed his first “Minka House” this year.  Designed as a compact backyard-cottage for his 21-year-old daughter, Haleigh Jane, the first Minka will be a “compact smart-home” for prototyping high touch technology optimized for state-of-the-art independent living for people of all ages and abilities.

Decide if this may be the solution you have been seeking for an aging loved one in your life.

Wandering: search and rescue aids

December 04, 2017

One of a caregiver’s greatest fears is that their loved one will go front porch and steps that someone living with dementia could wander away fromwandering.

After my uncle was diagnosed with dementia, my aunt was determined to care for him in their home. Our family supported her decision. As years went by and the dementia progressed, she worried about him wandering away.

Keeping loved ones safe and assuring that they will be found if they get lost are easier tasks with the help of newer technologies.

Caregivers can create their own Scent Preservation Kit that helps K9 search and rescue units follow your loved one’s scent. One such kit was pioneered by Paul Coley, co-founder of Scent Evidence K9.

“There’s been a lot of research done, and your odor, your scent is specific to you, just like your DNA and your fingerprint,” Coley said. His scent kits come with a special swab for collecting underarm odor and DNA and a specially designed container to preserve them.

“So if you put it in an area where it stays below 80 degrees and it’s out of the sunlight, it lasts for a very long time,” he said — up to 10 years.

Kits like his are available for purchase from Amazon. Many city and county police departments are creating their own programs.

Wireless door alarms, GPS tracking watches and systems that fit inside shoes and GPS car trackers are wise investments for family caregivers to consider.